THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT KIM OF SOUTH KOREA AT ARRIVAL CEREMONY
The South Lawn
10:46 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: President and Mrs. Kim, members of the Korea delegation, welcome to the United States and welcome to Washington. Let me extend a special greeting to the many Korean Americans who contribute so much to America's strength and diversity -- thank you, too, for being here today.
The Republic of Korea and the United States are joined by a history of shared sacrifice, and by a future of common purpose. Today President Kim and I will pay tribute to that past and continue our work toward that future.
Mr. President, your great personal sacrifice and singlemindedness of purpose help return democracy to your country for the first time in three decades. Since your election two and a half years ago, South Korea has matched its incredible economic success with remarkable political progress. And in so many areas, from regional security to expanded trade, from peacekeeping to diplomacy, you have strengthened the partnership between our two nations.
Today I reaffirm America's pledge to stand by that partnership. Our forces will remain in Korea as long as the Korean people want them there. Ultimately, the North-South dialogue and the future of the Korean Peninsula are in the hands of the Korean people. But you will always have the support of the United States.
Together we have made great progress. With Japan, we secured an agreement from North Korea to end its dangerous nuclear program. With other Northeast Asian nations we are strengthening our security alliance, so that a region too often torn apart by war knows a future of peace. We are taking historic steps to make trade and investment more free throughout the Asia Pacific region so that all our people know a future of prosperity. South Korea is and must remain a vital leader in all these efforts, and all of this will be on our agenda today.
Today, President Kim and I will also commemorate the foundation of our partnership when we dedicate the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The monument pays tribute to the Americans who fought side by side with South Koreans in defense of their land. And it stands as evidence of an unshakable alliance between our two nations, an alliance today that is stronger than ever.
Mr. President, we're glad to have you with us. Welcome back to the White House; welcome back to America. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT KIM: President and Mrs. Clinton, distinguished guests, citizens of the United States, I am very grateful for your kind invitation and for the warm welcome that has been extended to me, my wife and my delegation.
I have come here today to convey the sincere gratitude of the Korean people to the Korean War veterans of America and citizens of this country. I am also here to testify how invaluable the fruit has been of the blood and sweat shed by young Americans in that war. Thanks to their sacrifices, the 44 million Koreans today enjoy democracy and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, the United States and Korea fought side by side to defend freedom and have cooperated as partners in further spreading democracy and market economy. The Korean people and I feel proud of the road we have taken together in the name of freedom and prosperity over the past half century.
In particular, I am thankful for and will never forget the support and encouragement, the American government and people showed us in our prolonged struggle for democracy, which, at long last, has resulted in the birth of a civilian government. Korea will continue to cooperate with you, hand in hand, to build a more peaceful and prosperous global community.
May the future of President and Mrs. Clinton, all American citizens and the United States be blessed. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 10:58 A.M. EDT